Identity and Origins of the Nazgûl

A Tolkienist's Perspective

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There have been many theories and speculations on the possibilities of who and where Sauron’s greatest servants came from.

To better understand their origins, we must carefully analyse a specific period in time, and cross-reference it with different sources – trying to build a framework of all the events that occurred at that point in time.

That is the purpose of this essay. To shed light on the information that is available to us and construct a theory on several possibilities through calculated conclusions.

Needless to say, though everything presented her comes from Tolkien’s own sources, the end result is entirely based on speculation from the texts and my own interpretations; and are not intended to be perceived as fact.

What we know

It is a known fact among Tolkien readers that the only indications we have to any of the Nazgûl’s past histories, concern mainly three things:


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